A GROUP of students are protesting against a city centre college after it failed to re-open as planned or refund fees.
Shelbourne College in Camden Street did not open yesterday despite assurances to students from one of its directors that it would.
The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) has claimed that as much as €500,000 is owed to 150 students who paid for courses at the college.
Some of them will never be able to come to Ireland, said ICOS spokesman Dave Moore.
Last night the Department of Justice said the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) has been informed that the college is seeking to enter voluntary liquidation.
"The college will now be immediately removed from the Internationalisation Register, which means that no immigration permission will be issued in respect of it," a spokesman said.
"INIS is aware of allegations that the college has failed to refund monies due to certain students whose visa applications were refused.
"While INIS cannot comment on specific allegations regarding refund of fees, it is understood that some funds remain outstanding and the affected students should continue to pursue this issue with the college."
At the protest yesterday, Robin Manandhat (24), from Nepal, said his family had paid €6,000 for him to study in Dublin.
"We've lost out. They took our money. We don't know where it is. We are in a dilemma and we are so stressed," he said.
"My family collected money for my education and they paid around €6,000 for a one-year course.
"They were planning money for another year, but we are in a problem right now."
Mr Manandhat had paid to study a level-six business course and arrived three months ago.
"It's tough here," he said. "I arrived on November 2 and they showed me the classrooms. On November 3, the college closed."
An email was sent to students on November 19 by Adnan Wahla, one of the directors of the college, to say that contrary to rumours it was not closing down.
"Given that the college is not delisted or forced to shut down, we start classes again on January 12," the email said.
A former director of the college, Catherine Laffey, told the Herald that she resigned from the board last year because she felt she was being kept in the dark about how the place was being run.
She claimed there were financial issues at the college revolving around the need for non-European students to pay fees before being granted a visa for Ireland.
"The rejection rate was much higher than they anticipated," she said.
Ms Laffey said she took her responsibilities as a director "very seriously".
Mr Wahla and fellow director Zahid Shakil, both of whom are from Pakistan, could not be contacted last night.